AC/DC Surround Mixes Use Aria Electronics

Nov 7, 2003 12:00 PM, Editors


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When asked to mix the 5.1 surround soundtrack for a DVD release of AC/DC’s 1991 concert film, Live At Donington, engineer Mike Fraser (pictured) expressed a strong preference to mix to analog. For this project, he relied on a Studer A827 transport equipped with Aria Reference Series Electronics and a custom 2-inch 8-track headblock, both supplied by ATR Services Inc. of York, Pa.

When asked about Aria's Reference Series, Fraser said, “I was totally blown away. It had very nice definition, with crisp, clear highs, while the bottom end didn’t get murky as it sometimes does. What a pleasant surprise!”

The Live At Donington project was mixed at New York’s Quad Studios and mastered by Darcy Proper at Sony Studios, also in New York. The same Aria Electronics and headblock used for the mix at Quad were also used for mastering, although on a different A827 transport.

Al Quaglieri, who supervised the project for Epic Records, was similarly pleased by the sound of the much-lauded “superanalog” surround mixing format. “It really sings,” he said. “It’s a sweet-sounding system, and I would not hesitate to use it again in similar circumstances.”

After finishing the project, Fraser said that he would use the Aria system on his next round of work. “After hearing how the mixes sounded coming back off the tape, I don’t think I’d like using anything else. In fact, I’m seriously considering buying a system myself."

Although AC/DC bandmembers specifically asked Fraser to do the mixes, they entrusted the veteran Canadian engineer with the selection of all specific technology. But, according to producer Quaglieri, the Aussie power rock masters were quite happy with the results achieved. “I went to London and took the mixes for the first playback to Angus and Malcolm, and they were delighted,” he reported. “It was fun watching their reactions, because I think this was the first time they had been mixed to surround. So, mission accomplished!”

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